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26 April 2017

A PhD from IIT Madras, this visually impaired still can’t get a suitable job

Quodsi everti ancillae vim qui lorem persius petentium A PhD from IIT Madras, this visually impaired still can’t get a suitable job

NEW DELHI, APRIL 26 (ENA) With a Doctorate in Chemistry and with an IIT Madras tag, 30-year-old Akash Gupta who is visually impaired, has been travelling across the country with his aged mother, looking for a suitable job for the last two years. With the publication of this news it is hoped that Akash will definitely get a job.

No sooner than he received his PhD, Akash realised that most employers were blind to the degree that decorated his name.

Born to a financially backward family in Madhya Pradesh, Akash was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa while he was still in high school. Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition that causes severe vision impairment due to the progressive degeneration of cells in the retina.

As of now, there is no cure for it, and Akash battled on with his deteriorating vision to complete his Master’s degree in Chemistry. Having always been passionate about the subject, he decided to pursue a doctorate and secured a seat at IIT-Madras in 2010. 

"It was the first time I was leaving home and wanted to do this despite my poor vision.  I thought a sound education will help me overcome the disadvantages this disease has given me and would secure my future," says Akash. "But now, despite slogging for five years to get a doctorate, I remain unable to help my family, which is struggling financially," he says, his voice breaking. 

On his arrival in Chennai, he was certified as '75% disabled'. But, with the vision he possessed, he continued through the towering workload his course needed. He efficaciously completed his thesis, and his research papers were published in international journals. His work, he says, was even recognised among the Top 25 Hottest Articles in the field of Chemical Engineering in 2015.

Encouraged by these achievements, he applied for posts in institutes and organisations such as IIT Roorkee, IIT Kanpur, MNIT, NIT Karnataka, IISER Bhopal, IISER Kolkata and ONGC. But what he faced was outright rejection due to his vision impairment. 

"For two years, I applied everywhere for a job. I want to be a Professor or a Research Assistant but nobody is willing to hire me. Most of the time, they are ready to even keep a seat vacant instead of taking me," he says.

"I have completed this PhD by myself. In fact, my eyesight even deteriorated because of the constant exposure to chemicals and computer screens. But I kept at it, hoping for a better life. The Government, these institutes and even my education has failed me," he says dejectedly. 

" The Centre must intervene to help this talented man. It is no easy task to complete a PhD in Chemistry and that shows the level of technical knowledge he possesses," says TMN Deepak, President of the disability rights group, December 3 Movement.

Akash is still in Chennai and has applied for the post of a technical superintendent (who supervises processes in laboratories) in an educational institute. "I know I am over qualified for the post. But what can I do? My father is ill and can no longer work. I can't ask my mother to accompany me everywhere. I am desperate and need a source of income," he laments.





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